WASHINGTON, Sept 18 ― A daughter of Malaysia's jailed former opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is pinning her hopes on the United Nations or United States taking up his case, she told AFP yesterday.
Anwar was convicted last year of sodomising a male aide and jailed for five years, but his supporters regard the former deputy prime minister as a political prisoner held on trumped up charges.
This week, the elder of his two daughters, Nurul Izzah, was in Washington to meet officials from the White House, State Department and Congress to lobby on her 68-year-old father's behalf.
Current Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been weakened by a corruption scandal, and Anwar's camp hopes international pressure will be the key to re-opening his case.
“America needs also to understand the impact of allowing such an important voice like Anwar to be silenced just because of political considerations,” Nurul told AFP.
“And I think if we allow this authoritarian regime to hijack the agenda you will only see a worsening situation in terms of extremism.”
Once an ally of former Malaysian strongman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Anwar has already served jail time for sodomy ― a serious crime in the mainly-Muslim country ― but emerged to lead the opposition movement.
Washington has expressed its concern several times over his treatment, and in August US Secretary of State John Kerry said he had taken up the matter directly with Najib.
Anwar's international legal team has filed a motion with the UN Security Council's human rights committee and hopes next month to be rewarded with a statement condemning his incarceration.
“Our hope is that between the UN opinion and the increased authoritarian consolidation underway in Malaysia ... and Najib being under investigation ... all these things together create the image of Najib as a man under siege,” one lawyer said. ― AFP